Helen Norris Bell, died November 18, 2013, at age 97, at Highland Farms Health Center in Black Mountain, NC.
Born in Miami on June 22, 1916, to Elmer and Louise Norris, Helen moved to Montgomery, Alabama, at a young age and remained in Alabama most of her life until moving to Black Mountain in 2003 when her health declined. She earned BA and MA degrees at the University of Alabama and worked towards her PhD at Duke University. In addition to her career as an English professor at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Helen was an accomplished author, publishing five novels, four books of short fiction, and two volumes of poetry. She was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Los Angeles Times Fiction Award. In addition, she received five O'Henry Awards, a Pushcart Prize, two Andrew Lytle Awards, as well as other literary honors. She was elected Poet Laureate of Alabama in 1999, had two stories adapted for HBO movies, and read for the Library of Congress twice. Her stories have been translated into Chinese, Polish, Dutch, and Tamil.
Helen is survived by her son, Tom and his wife, Martha; grandsons, Tommy Bell and wife Amanda, Stuart Bell and wife Courtney, and Wilson Bell; and five great-grandchildren.
A memorial service to celebrate Helen's life will be held at Highland Farms Chapel on January 25 at 3:00.
Memorials may be made to Givens-Highland Farms Employee Appreciation Fund, c/o Bob Miller, 18 Wagon Trail, Black Mountain, NC 28711.
Published in the Montgomery Advertiser on Nov. 26, 2013